Welcome to MERMAID Documentation page. Here we will walk you through the steps of using MERMAID Collect and explain in details its features and functionalities.

MERMAID is an open-source application that collects and manages real-time data on coral reef health, developed in partnership between the WCS, WWF, and Sparkgeo.

With MERMAID, scientists input their observations straight into the platform using the Collect tool. MERMAID does the job of tagging and sorting data, avoiding duplicates, standardizing scientific names and summarizing critical indicators.

We save you time so you can save coral reefs!

MERMAID joins you in the field with its offline capabilities, but it stands apart from Excel or other databases, like Access, because it requires virtually zero post-entry data clean up! 

Users can select reef fish and coral names from a standard list of taxa with only a few keystrokes; MERMAID will autocomplete the rest. Selecting names means saving time typing in species names or cleaning up typos of misspelled species names.

MERMAID also allows you to calculate reef fish biomass while you type, or see your total coral cover as soon as you have finished entering a transect. When you have finished collecting data, it can be exported to standard field reports (CSV/Excel) and can soon be used to create graphs or other reports. 

The MERMAID workflow:

  1. Sign up and set up a project
    1. Sign up for an account
    2. Set up a project and add users
    3. Prepare for offline use
  2. Collect data
    1. Select a transect type
    2. Enter site information
    3. Enter management regime
    4. Include benthic vober and fish species
    5. Complete and save the transect
  3. Review and submit 
    1. Review and submit data
    2. Address any errors and warnings
  4. Export and analyze data
    1. Export to .csv for further analysis
    2. Analyze directly using mermaidr

Getting started

Collecting data

Just like Excel, MERMAID joins you during data collection in the field with its offline capabilities.

Validating data

After your data has been saved, it can be validated. Validation is the “proof-reading” of the sample unit information and observations. This is where mistakes and errors are caught and brought to your attention to correct. 

Validation can only be done online.

After saving a transect, click the activated green “Validate” button to validate your transect.

After successfully validating a transect the validate button will be grayed out and the option to submit your data will be activated in green.

After validating, you will receive one of the following notifications:

A. Success!

Nice work, your sample unit was validated successfully! There are no errors with the data and it is ready to submit.

B. Warnings

An orange warning(s) will appear at the top of the page if MERMAID identifies a potential issue in your transect information or data.

You can decide whether the issue is accurate for your data. If the issue was due to an entry mistake, you can change the information by clicking “resolve” in the warning message at the top of the page. This will bring up a modal window where you can add or change the information. Click “update” to incorporate your changes in the transect.

Some warnings require more than one field changes, such as in the observation section, and the modal will direct you to scroll to the fields within the record.

After addressing warnings, resave the transect and validate again. Repeat the process for any additional warnings that are identified. If you don’t believe a warning is accurate for your transect, you can disregard it and submit the transect.

C. Errors

A red warning message will appear if MERMAID identifies an error in a transect’s information or observations. Errors must be resolved before a transect can be submitted. To address the error click “resolve” in the error message. This will bring up a modal window where you can add or change the information. Click “update” to incorporate your changes in the transect.

You can also scroll down to the field in your transect with the warning and edit within the record. After resolving all errors, resave the transect and validate again. Repeat the process for any additional errors that are identified.

D. Submit data

When you are finished entering data for a transect, you can ‘submit’ the transect.

After submitting data, admin users can still edit the transect or return a transect to the observer, so make sure your data are finalized and clean before submitting as a collector! Submitting data can only be done when online.

To submit data, select the green box in a validated transect that says “Submit”.

Submitting data moves it from the "Collect" page to the "Submitted" page. This shares your observations with the other users in the project. Within the “Submitted” page, admins can edit or delete transects or return them to their original observers for further editing.

If you are a read-only member on a project you can see data once it has been submitted and you can export it, but you cannot edit this data while it is in MERMAID.

Accessing Data